U.S. Congress repeals meat labelling law

OTTAWA -- A potential trade war between Canada and the United States was all but averted Friday when Congress passed a massive spending bill that also repealed a controversial meat labelling law.

See Full Article

The 2,000-plus pages of legislation contained a two-page rider that scrapped the U.S. labelling law, known as COOL, which had become a major irritant among Canada, Mexico and the U.S.

The legislation now only needs a signature from President Barack Obama.

The World Trade Organization granted Canada and Mexico the right to impose $1 billion in punitive tariffs on various U.S. products after finding that the country-of-origin labelling provisions on beef and pork products violated international trade rules.

Canada and Mexico argued that the measure was nothing more than thinly disguised protectionism. Supporters said consumers have a right to know where their meat comes from.

International Trade Minister Chrystia Freeland and Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay both welcomed the passage of the legislation, calling Friday "a great day for Canada."

"This is a real vindication of the power and significance of the WTO dispute-resolution mechanism, which has secured a real win for Canada," Freeland said in a teleconference call from Nairobi, where she and MacAulay were taking part in a trade conference.

"This is a decision that will have a real and immediate benefit to the Canadian economy."

Freeland said she expects the labelling regime will disappear quickly.

"We will be monitoring the situation to make sure there are no problems in this area," MacAulay added.

The ministers thanked Canadian diplomats and some American politicians and industries which supported doing away with the measure.

The Senate had been the last barrier because domestic political interests kept some senators opposed to repealing the law.

Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts, the Republican chair of the Senate's powerful agriculture committee, expressed relief Friday at the news. Roberts said the retaliatory measures would have been damaging to various sectors of the U.S. economy.

"From the ranchers in Kansas to the jewelry makers on the East Coast, every state had something to lose from keeping mandatory COOL intact," Roberts said in a statement.

The WTO ruling, the latest in a series that Canada won in the dispute, cleared the way for widespread retaliation.

The targeted U.S. products included not only agricultural ones such as cattle, pork, apples, rice, maple syrup and wine, but extended to non-agricultural products, such as jewelry, office chairs, wooden furniture and mattresses.

Freeland said Canada still intends to obtain formal approval next week from the WTO for retaliation, even though the tariffs won't be imposed.

"We think that it is prudent of us to take the legal process to its formal, technical conclusion," she said.

On Friday, the Senate voted by a 65-33 margin to approve the massive bill that included $1.14 trillion in new spending in 2016 and $680 billion in tax cuts in the decade to come.



Advertisements

Latest Economic News

  • Sears Canada faces online calls for boycott over treatment of ex-employees

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO - Sears Canada is facing a social media campaign calling for a boycott after the company said it planned on paying millions in bonuses to keep executives on board during restructuring, despite not offering severance to laid-off workers. Source
  • BBC women demand immediate response to gender pay gap

    Economic CTV News
    LONDON -- Some of the BBC's most prominent female journalists and TV presenters are banding together to demand that the broadcaster fix its wide gender pay gap immediately rather than in several years as management has proposed. Source
  • New airport security rules and brewing beer battles: CBC's Marketplace consumer cheat sheet

    Economic CBC News
    Miss something this week? Here's the consumer news you need to know from CBC-TV's Marketplace. Get this in your inbox every Friday. Sign up here. Flying to the U.S.? Read this "Enhanced" security measures went into effect this week for Canadians travelling to the U.S. Source
  • Credit agency pushes feds to give it access to list of social insurance numbers

    Economic CTV News
    OTTAWA -- An international credit reporting agency is pushing the federal government to give it access to a monthly list of new social insurance numbers despite years of rejections over privacy concerns. TransUnion made the request anew earlier this year, shortly after Patty Hajdu became labour minister, to access the list that contains the range of social insurance numbers issued each month in various regions of the country. Source
  • Canadians set record with U.S. real estate shopping spree

    Economic CBC News
    New Brunswick's Joel Levesque had no idea he was helping set a record when he bought a home in Fort Myers, Fla., back in April. The 63-year-old semi-retired public affairs professional wanted a place to escape for the winter and didn't feel like waiting around for the loonie to gain ground on the greenback. Source
  • Debt got you down? Start a debt-destruction club

    Economic CBC News
    If you run, hide, or plug your ears every time the topic of money comes up, you're not alone. But as the era of ultra-low interest rates comes to an end, you need to force yourself to face your finances. Source
  • Ontario transit agency won't let Bombardier bid to operate commuter trains

    Economic CTV News
    MONTREAL -- Ontario's transit agency has decided not to appeal a court ruling favouring Bombardier but will exclude the Montreal-based company from bidding to continue operating GO Transit trains as it has done for decades. Source
  • Business groups blast Ontario labour proposals on last day of consultations

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Unions and advocacy groups made one last effort Friday to sway the Ontario government on its plan for sweeping changes to the province's labour laws, with some sounding the alarm about what they deem drastic measures and others arguing the proposal doesn't go far enough. Source
  • Marijuana companies band together to develop marketing guidelines

    Economic CTV News
    TORONTO -- Sixteen of Canada's licensed marijuana producers have enlisted the help of Advertising Standards Canada to develop guidelines on how the drug should be branded and promoted before its recreational use becomes legal next year. Source
  • Husky Energy set to repair pipeline that spilled crude into river a year ago

    Economic CTV News
    CALGARY -- Husky Energy (TSX:HSE) says it has been granted permission to repair and replace a section of pipeline that leaked 225,000 litres of crude in Saskatchewan just over a year ago. Chief executive Robert Peabody said that it will be applying lessons learned from the spill on the rebuild. Source